Sunday, October 24, 2010

Facebook "Like" marketing experiment - Part II

Here is the text that I used to get things rolling. I edited and edited and edited until there were no extra words and the message was clear:

This year for Christmas gifts, I'm making calendars from these photos I shot this summer at Swan Island Dahlias - but I have too many pictures.

Will you help? Just "Like" your favorites and I'll use the top 12.

The 12 pictures with the most "Likes" will be featured in the calendar. I'll count up the most popular ones on
 the weekend before Thanksgiving. (Saturday 11/20/10)

When the calendars are printed, I'll randomly pick someone who liked at least one picture and send them a calendar as well. (Sure, your friends can "Like" their favorites, too.)

Thanks for the help!

Apparently, if your friends "Like" a photo in your album, it doesn't show up in their profile. Any comments they make simply say, "Mary commented on your photo."

That's definitely not going to create a buzz. I'll post a solution here after figuring out the best way to fix this.

In addition to that, Jennifer pointed out some rules regarding promotions on FB (in a comment on the last post here.) I'm working on modifying the thing to make it FB friendly and will let you know what I come up with. Like stated at the beginning, this is an experiment. I'm learning as I go and bringing you along so you can learn more, too.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Marketing via Facebook "Like"

This fall I am conducting a little experiment on Facebook to see firsthand how the "Like" feature can create a viral effect. Like many people, I casually dabble in Facebook but haven't taken any Facebook classes or spent a lot of time studying how to make my concept go from 0 to 1,000,000 in two days.

Many of the businesses that I "Like" are locally owned venues with fans numbering between a handful to maybe a couple hundred at most. These pages use Facebook more as a cocktail hour extension, keeping their fans in the loop with upcoming local events and special deals.

In order to learn more about how I could use the "Like" feature in big ways, I'm going to pose a small contest, of sorts.

It all started when I came up with this year's Christmas gift to the grown-ups in my family. Each household gets the same thing - a handmade or home cooked something or other. Last year it was hand-sewn grocery bags, fresh bread, and homemade jam. The previous year it was homemade BBQ sauce with corn bread mix, and a few BBQ cooking and eating accessories. This year I'm making calendars from photos I shot this summer at Swan Island Dahlias.

My problem: I can't whittle down my favorites from 17 to just 12 pictures.
The solution: Post them on Facebook and ask my friends and family to vote for their favorites by "Liking" them.

Simple enough.

The whole experiment thing didn't occur to me until I was uploading the pictures into an album on Facebook. The ideas flew around in my head -
Why limit it to just my friends? Why not open it up to everyone? (I don't sell photos or calendars, but I suppose I could if I really wanted to.)
Why not take the names of everyone who "Liked" the photos and pick one to win a calendar?
...Why not take some notes for when I want to promote a business in this manner?

And so here is where the project is for today. I'll run the experiment, take some notes, report back here with an update midway through, and share my final result.

If you want to take a look at the rest of the photos - and "Like" your favorites, or not - simply visit my Dahlias Album.

Update : Still learning about Facebook, there have been some changes. The link to the Dahlias Album now points to a different location. Read more about my learning process and reason for the changes in Facebook "Like" Marketing Experiment Part II

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Email Newsletter options

I have been looking into email newsletter programs for a project I'm working on, and thought you might be interested in what I have learned. I'm not endorsing any of these, and as always, I don't take payment for mentioning anyone's names or linking to their sites. I'm just sharing this for your information.

All of these programs allow you to customize your email, they offer attractive templates, and a the bells and whistles that you would expect from an email marketing program, such as tracking, etc. Here is a list of some popular email newsletter programs and a comparison on their basic info:

    Cost: Free for up to 100 subscribers, tiered pricing starting at $10/month
    Use: Sign up for online service
    Limits: Send up to 6 emails per month to up to 100 subscribers, for free. Paid subscriptions include unlimited emails.
    Cost: $5 per email campaign + $.01 per recipient, so an email sent to 100 subscribers costs you $6, and an email sent to 500 subscribers costs you $10. If you send quarterly newsletters, you only pay when you send a newsletter.
    Use: Sign up online
    Limits: Couldn't find any limits to this service
    Bonus: They offer a reselling program that you can customize to match your own brand. You set your own price, resell the service, and develop a nice little passive income.
    Cost: 75 euros for lifetime email license, but p1xie said in an Etsy forum post that if your contact list is small, it's free.
    Use: Download the email program to your computer
    Limits: Send up to 100,000 newsletters per month
    (It didn't clarify if this means 100,000 email campaigns per month or if you can send one email campaign to up to 100,000 subscribers per month, or if you can send any number of campaigns to any number of subscribers for a total number of up to 100,000 emails sent per month.)
    Cost: $9.95/month minimum
    Use: Free trial then buy monthly subscription
    Limits: Number of subscriber limits not listed without signing up for service
    Cost: Free for up to 500 subscribers, tiered pricing starting at $10.95/month
    Use: Online service with many free or paid add-on services
    Limits: Bravenet places their ads and their own branding on your free emails. Paid subscriptions remove Bravenet ads and branding.
    Cost: Free trial for 60 days, then tiered pricing starting at $15/month
    RockOnAccessories mentioned on an Etsy forum post that if your contact list stays under 100, it's always free.
One thing to keep in mind - Since you're most likely using an email newsletter to promote your business, your sales are likely to increase as your contact list grows. Etsy's bohtieque, who uses MailChimp, said in a forum post "After you use up the first 100 or so free credits, you'll need to buy more, but I've found it's pretty cost effective--after I send out the newsletter I get more than enough sales within a few days to pay for it."

Do you use an email newsletter program not listed here? Please comment with the name of what you use and I'll add it to the list.

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